Only Rock’n’Roll

Seventh Gallery consistently has good shows. It is remarkable for a small artist-run shopfront gallery with a second windowless backroom gallery space. Reading their website the management committee make these problems appear to be features; the lack of any natural light in the backroom is promoted as giving the artist has greater control of lighting.

The current exhibition at Seventh, “We’ve Got A Love Like Electric Sound” is no exception. This group exhibition by Catherine Connolly, Candice Cranmer, Stephen Palmer, Carl Scrase, Sally Tape and Fiona Williams is about the relationship between contemporary art and popular music. This is a common contemporary art theme; a great theme since the pop art of 1960s, not an original theme but it is still a very fruitful source of inspiration. Popular culture and music is the revolution of that you can dance to. And popular culture has inspired many famous artists: Toulouse Lautrec, Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons. Popular culture might be juvenile, utopian and romantic but it is fun.

And “We’ve Got A Love Like Electric Sound” is a fun exhibition. The wow work of the exhibition is Candice Cranmer’s musk-stick column that reached from floor to ceiling. (The work had a reference to lyrics by Joy Division but I neglected to note the quote. Many of the other works also had pop music references in their titles.) Carl Scrase’s two works appropriated and rearranged pop material with playful fun and spectacular results: in one bouncy balls and toothpicks becomes the universe. Catherine Connolly’s video installations, reframed the video screen with timber and gloss enamel paint, showed sections of crowds at concerts. Fiona Williams’ faux naïf oil paintings on aluminium reminded me of the popular culture focused paintings of Elizabeth Peyton. It is apparent from her work where Sally Tape gets her name (or is the other way around); her day-glo and silver tape on wall-work was like Frank Stella on acid. Oddly there is only one piece of sound art in this exhibition, Stephen Palmer’s Pacing.

It is only rock’n’roll but I like it.

About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

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